Kurds from all parts of Kurdistan participated, although those from Turkey comprised the bulk of the crowd. Photo by Mutlu Civiroglu
WASHINGTON DC – Some 300 Kurdish-Americans from all parts of the United States gathered outside the White House on Sunday to protest reported attacks on Kurdish civilians by al-Qaeda groups in Syria, and to draw US attention to the plight of Syrian Kurds.
Demonstrators chanted slogans condemning what they said was the silence of US President Barack Obama’s administration following reports of Kurdish massacres in Syria at the hands of the Islamist Jabhat al-Nusrah, which is affiliated with al-Qaeda and designated as a terrorist organization by Washington.
“Jabhat al-Nusrah is Killing Kurdish Children,” read one banner, while another ordered, “Al- Qaeda out of Kurdistan.”
“Hey Obama what do you say, Kurds are killed day-by-day,” the protesters chanted, claiming that Kurds in Syria were being targeted for being secular, moderate and pro-Western.
There have been unconfirmed reports of Kurdish massacres by Jabhat al-Nusrah, and Kurdish leaders have agreed to send a fact-finding mission to Syria’s Kurdish regions to investigate the reports.
“Jabhat al-Nusrah and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) target Kurdish civilians and behead them because they see Kurds as an obstacle in front of their filthy plans to spread jihad in Syria and establish an Islamic state with the concealed help of Turkey, a close ally of the United States,” the protesters said in a statement.
“There is no doubt that if Kurds lose this fight, Syria will fall into jihadist hands, and this poses not only a threat for the Middle East, but also for global security and peace,” the statement added.
The protest that was organized by Greater Washington Kurdish Community took place with the support of Kurdish organizations in Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Boston.
Kurds from all parts of Kurdistan participated, although those from Turkey comprised the bulk of the crowd.
The event was supported by the Washington representatives of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the Patriot Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the Kurdistan Region’s opposition Change Movement (Gorran) and the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (KDP-I).
Several rights groups and activists also took part in the demonstration.
The protest, which was festooned with Kurdistan and US flags as well as the traditional Kurdish colors of green, yellow and red, ended with demonstrators singing “Ey Reqib,” the Kurdish national anthem.